Hold the jam

Creative hamantashen

Cardamom scented hamantashen with pear and goat cheese filling
Cardamom scented hamantashen with pear and goat cheese filling

We all recognize that poppy seed or jam taste when we bite into hamantashen on Purim every year. But given the right filling or dough, the traditional pastry has a lot more to offer.

Hailed as the “Queen of Kosher” and the “Jewish Rachael Ray,” best-selling author Jamie Geller is the founder of the Kosher Media Network, publisher of Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller magazine and JoyofKosher.com. Geller’s online cooking videos have garnered more than one million views.

The following recipes, edited by JNS.org, were recommended by Geller and have appeared on JoyofKosher.com and in Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller magazine. The Stuffed Hamantashen Challah recipe is based on Geller’s own challah recipe as it appeared in her cookbook Joy of Kosher: Fast, Fresh Family Recipes.

Cardamom Scented Hamantashen with Pear & Goat Cheese Filling
By Pessy Haskelevich, writer for Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller magazine

For a pareve version, simply replace the butter with canola oil and omit the goat cheese.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Servings: Two dozen

For the Pastry
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter, or 1/4 cup canola oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1-2 tsp. cardamom or hawayij
Pinch of salt

For the filling
1/2 cup water
1/8 cup sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 lb. firm but ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch diced pieces
3/4 cup apricot jam
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
8 oz. soft goat cheese (optional)

Preparing the pastry:
1. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

3. Divide the dough in half and chill in plastic wrap for half an hour.

Preparing the filling:
1. Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan and simmer over low heat until sugar has dissolved.

2. Add the lemon juice, ginger and pears and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, or until pears are tender. Set aside to cool.

To assemble and bake:
1. On a generously-floured surface, preferably on baking paper, roll out the dough to a quarter-inch thickness. Roll once, then pick up the flattened dough and turn it 90 degrees. Sprinkle with more flour if necessary and roll it out again. Repeat until dough is of sufficient thickness (this procedure helps prevent the dough from sticking). Use a round cookie cutter or glass with a 2-3 inch diameter to cut out circles of dough.

2. Smear a very thin layer of apricot preserves in the center of each circle.

3. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon walnuts and a small piece of crumbled goat cheese.

4. Top with 1 teaspoon of pear jam.

5. Lift up the edges of the circle to form a triangle. Pinch the corners securely so that they don’t open in the oven.

6. Line a cookie sheet with baking paper and place the assembled hamantashen on the cookie sheet. Chill the hamantashen in the freezer for about half an hour.

7. Repeat with second half of dough.

8. Bake the hamantashen in the oven at 375 degrees for 20-24 minutes or until golden. Cool on rack.


Stuffed Hamantashen Challah
By Shifra Klein, editor-in-chief, Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller magazine

Based on the challah recipe from Joy of Kosher: Fast, Fresh Family Recipes.


Stuffed hamantashen challah
Stuffed hamantashen challah

Prep Time for challah: One hour
Cook Time for challah: 45-55 minutes
Serving for challah: Four challahs

2 oz. active dry yeast + 3 Tbsp. sugar
6 cups warm water, divided
4 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 (6-lb.) bag high-gluten flour
2 cups sugar
4 egg yolks
11/4 cups canola oil, divided
2 whole eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup poppy seeds

Directions to make challah dough:
1. In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and three tablespoons of sugar in two cups of warm water, cover loosely with a towel and set aside.

2. Place salt in a huge plastic bowl.

3. Add flour to bowl.

4. Add sugar and egg yolks.

5. Yeast should now have bubbled/foamed and doubled in size, if yeast has not bubbled or does not seem active repeat the process again.

6. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and slowly pour yeast and sugar water mixture into the well. Then add the remaining four cups of warm water into the well. Make sure the water is not too hot. It should be no warmer than you would use for a baby’s bath.

7. Start kneading ingredients together and add a half cup of oil.

8. For the next 10 minutes, knead, adding another half cup of oil slowly during that time as needed to create a workable dough. Dough shouldn’t be too sticky and also should not be dry. It should become one cohesive mass.

9. Loosely cover dough with a large kitchen towel and place in a warm spot in your kitchen for 15 minutes.

10. After 15 minutes, lightly oil your hand and knead again for another five minutes adding a touch more oil to the dough if necessary. The dough should now be easier to work with and will become smooth and satiny.

11. Rub a little oil over the top and around the dough. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel. Place covered bowl in a medium plastic garbage bag and place open ends of the bag loosely underneath the bowl, trapping in air.

12. Place in a warm spot and let rise for one hour or until doubled in size.

13. Punch dough down and knead (lightly oil your hands if necessary), flipping it and releasing any air bubbles. Cover again, using the towel and the bag, and let rise one more hour.

14. Lightly oil your hands, and punch down again. With a sharp knife divide dough into four equal parts.

15. Liberally spray four 9-inch round baking pans with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

16. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 10 minutes and then lower your oven temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 35-45 minutes, until challah top is dark golden brown.

Directions for the hamantashen:
Fillings of choice: pesto, sundried tomato dip, or olive dip.
Prep Time for the hamantashen: 15 minutes
Cook Time for the hamantashen: 15 minutes

1. Roll out desired size of dough into a rectangle. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into a diamond shape.

2. Cut out a small triangle from the center of one of the halves of the diamond.

3. Place filling directly opposite the triangle, on the other half of the dough.

4. Fold over to form a triangle/hamantashen shape, and seal edges.

5. Brush with egg wash.

6. Bake until golden.


Gingerbread Hamantashen with Spiced Apple Filling
By Tamar Genger, executive editor, JoyofKosher.com

Gingerbread Hamantashen
Gingerbread Hamantashen

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 36

For the cookie dough:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour plus more for dusting
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly milled black pepper
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted margarine, room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup unsulfured molasses
1 large egg

For the filling:
6 Tbsp. margarine, cut in 1-inch pieces
1/2 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise and scraped of seeds
3 large or 4 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

Gingerbread cookie dough:
1. Sift the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, salt and pepper through a wire sieve into a medium bowl. Set aside.

2. In a stand mixer, beat the margarine and shortening on high until well blended, about one minute. Add the brown sugar and beat until the mixture is light in texture and color, about two minutes. Beat in the molasses and egg.
Using a wooden spoon, gradually mix in the flour mixture to make a stiff dough. Divide the dough into two thick disks and wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, about three hours. (The dough can be prepared up to two days ahead.)

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the margarine and vanilla bean and seeds, cook about five minutes. Add the apples and let them caramelize on one side, then turn and cook until it begins to caramelize. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the apples and cook, turning occasionally while it softens about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and remove vanilla bean, then purée in food processor and cool until ready to use.

2. When ready to assemble and bake the cookies, position the racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

3. To roll out the cookies, work with one disk at a time, keeping the other disk refrigerated. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature until just warm enough to roll out without cracking, about 10 minutes. (If the dough has been chilled for longer than three hours, it may need a few more minutes.) Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle the top of the dough with flour. Roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut out 3-inch circles and use a spatula to place circles on a baking sheet lined with parchment.

4. Spoon a teaspoon of filling into the center of the circle of dough and fold together to form a triangle. Bake for eight to 10 minutes, remove to wire rack to cool, and enjoy.

To read the complete March 2015 Dayton Jewish Observer, click here.

Previous post

Bark Mitzvah Boy

Next post

Federation leases nursing facility to new operator